Logo Zaatar NGO


Social restaurant

Tastes of Damascus, Zaatar NGO's latest project, is an eco-friendly restaurant serving healthy vegetarian Middle Eastern cuisine and offering training and job opportunities to asylum-seekers and refugees. ​

So far, Za'atar NGO has trained four groups of ten refugees and asylum-seekers (total of 40 students) in the basic skills required to work in the restaurant industry in Greece. The Restaurant Training Course took place at our day-center organization, the Orange House, and are taught in Greek, which greatly improves their chances of getting a job in after graduating from the training. The Restaurant Training Course is taught by a woman from Syria, who also is the full-time manager at Tastes of Damascus. Our students receive basic training in making all the most common dishes in both Greek and Middle Eastern cuisine.

After completing the Restaurant Training Course, students are given the opportunity to apply to work at Tastes of Damascus, where we support them with our team to complete the paperwork that is required to hire them. Employees receive a standard salary while being trained to improve their cooking skills and their knowledge of the Greek language. The goal is that after few months, employees/students will be able to go work in another restaurant and maintain their job, allowing us to welcome more students to be trained.

In 2021, we opened a catering company in parallel with the restaurant. This allowed us to train and hire more people as we now have about 3-4 events per month in parallel with running the restaurant. In 2022, we started participating in festivals in Athens so this also allowed us to welcome more employees.

An in depth look: our priorities at Tastes of Damascus


As with all our projects, Tastes of Damascus and the Restaurant Training Courses aim to be as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible: - no meat products served/used - all cleaning products are eco-friendly - no plastic straws - donate all leftovers to a local charity - oil used to fry is recycled - reusable tablemats ​

Mutual integration: Integration works both ways.

Since Greece is not a very diverse country, we believe that our project has a great impact on breaking barriers. Most of our customers are Greek people coming to enjoy an authentic falafel or discover new flavours. Most of them taste at our restaurant their first Syrian food.

A long-term goal of our project is therefore to open minds and widen horizons, making Greek people more curious of foreign cultures and others. We aim at promoting the Syrian culture while changing locals’ conceptions of refugees as a weight for society, demonstrating how they instead can bring new flavours and experiences to the city.